Hunting Lodge – Will (Dais, May 2015)

Will by Hunting Lodge is many things: an invitation to explore the edgier shores of the American underground and a pitch-black, pull-me-apart-and-feed-me-to-the-dogs listen that contains the first seed of what went on to become the label, concept and hub known as S/M Operations. Most of all this reissue through Dais is the first chance we’ve been given to hear the record as it was meant to be. The original Will is awash with white noise and skew-whiff levels of mixing as Hunting Lodge’s young Lon C. Diehl and Richard Skott naively, but uncompromisingly, took to the mastering process themselves in 1983.

But refusals to compromise always pay back, sooner or later. Hunting Lodge’s third opus is a threatening, ice-cold masterpiece of radical industrial music which still has a few lessons to teach and a lot of pleasure to give. A tidal wave of impossibly jagged rhythms, metallic throaty drones, bangs and clangs in abandoned factories and distorted voices from afar, Will is a perfect synthesis of the various veins that run through Diehl and Skott’s brief but industrious musical career. Some three decades on, Will sounds like an accomplished monument to the brutal yet melancholy side of American industrial. The album is noisy in a haunting way, rabid and unrelentlessly bleak, but it is also thoughtful. Listening to this loud and not in the company of others has been one of the best evenings May has granted us.